Vaccine shortages problematic

Farmers are apparently struggling to obtain various vaccines that should be manufactured and distributed by government’s Onderstepoort Biological Products (OBP).

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“For the first time in over 40 years I haven’t been able to purchase the necessary vaccine at my local co-operative,” said Koos du Toit, chairperson of De Aar Agri. “I couldn’t obtain Clone 13 and they didn’t have bluetongue (catarrhal fever) vaccine available either. The worst part was the fact that they made it sound as though it were my fault that I hadn’t vaccinated earlier.” 
He said government should get its priorities straight, and accused it of spending too much time on frivolous issues such as street names.

“I don’t care if I live in Malema Ditch or Verwoerd Street, but it does matter whether I can obtain vaccines,” he said. Farmers also did not trust the way vaccines were distributed. “I am, however, willing to pay a premium if I can be certain the vaccine will be effective,” said Du Toit.

“At the moment, I don’t trust the manner in which vaccines are being transported or stored.” In 2011, Rift Valley fever caused a 10% decline in Northern Cape wool sales from the previous year. Dr Steven Cornelius, OBP CEO, told a parliamentary meeting last year that OBP tested every batch of vaccine and if a batch failed the test, it was not released.

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